Ex-Pastry Chef Sues Mario Batali for Discrimination

A laid-off pastry chef at Babbo has sued Batali for alleged sexual orientation discrimination suffered by employees at Babbo

The lawsuit contends that Babbo management and coworkers called the former chef “girly” and a “f----t.”

A former pastry chef at Babbo is suing chef Mario Batali for alleged sexual orientation discrimination. Isaac Franco Nava filed the lawsuit last week, alleging multiple managers at Batali’s Greenwich Village restaurant frequently verbally abused him, calling him “girly,” “f----t” and “parajo” (Spanish for “bird,” but also often used as a homophobic slur).

“The abuse was hostile, aggressive, threatening, demeaning and embarrassing,” the lawsuit alleges.

Nava said that after he complained to management, the employees who taunted him were disciplined, but the abuse started up again last summer and nothing was done to rectify the situation. In April, he said that he was terminated for “stealing a porkchop” that he had permission to take home for dinner.

The lawsuit names Nava’s manager, two of his co-workers, Batali, and restaurant co-owner Joe Bastianich.

“Isaac is a proud member of the gay community and to be routinely harassed at work because of his sexual identity and race is completely unacceptable,” Franco’s attorney Eric Baum told the New York Daily News. “He brought this lawsuit … to make sure this does not happen to any other employee.”


The Daily Meal has contacted the Batali and Bastianich Restaurant Group for more information.